Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dating Site Humor

As I sit here eating lunch, wishing it were cooler outside, leafing through my e-mail, a friend mentions an internet dating site. Thoughts of updating my profile and maybe checking things out come to mind. But then, as is typical, my mind turns to humor.

So, here are some definitions and comments on the possible true meanings of the things some date-seekers post. Hope you get at the minimum, a few chuckles out of this. No disrespect meant to anyone, especially those who drive VWs.

Humourous Dating Site Definitions Explained!
  • Retired ~~ Has not been able to hold a job for the last decade.
  • Well Off ~~ Average bank account is $100.
  • Owns his own place ~~ Lives out of his VW Microbus.
  • Enjoys traveling ~~ See above item.
  • Multilingual ~~ Can swear in Spanish, Italian and French.
  • Takes care of his parents ~~ Has lived in their basement for the last 25 years.
  • Likes walking on the beach ~~ ...looking for lost change.
  • Enjoys the outdoors ~~ The VW Microbus needs to be fumigated once a year.
  • Full head of hair ~~ Beware the dreaded comb-over.
  • Easy going ~~ Enjoys a LOT of herbal supplements.
  • Enjoys growing things ~~See above item.
  • Athletic ~~ Jumps to conclusions on a daily basis.
  • Likes loud music ~~ Volume button is broken on the radio.
  • Enjoys quiet evenings by a fireplace ~~ The VW Microbus gets cramped once in a while.
  • Studied Pharmacology ~~ Currently or previously a drug mule.
  • Frugal ~~ Water is free, right?
  • Doesn't watch TV ~~ Either cannot afford cable or satellite service, or does not know how to operate a remote.
  • Enjoys technology ~~ Uses an iPhone or Droid to text friends and post on FacecBook about 50% of the time while on dates.
  • Enjoys reading ~~ While Calvin and Hobbes can be greatly entertaining, it is not literature.
  • Old fashion ~~ Doesn't believe in brushing teeth and showers once a week.
  • Rides bicycles ~~ Necessary when the VW Microbus breaks down.
  • Enjoys a drink now and then ~~ Has a separate refrigerator for the beer and box wine.
  • Well dressed ~~ Could mean many things. When combined with 'Frugal', this indicates a lot of ill-fitting t-shirts that have faded pictures of nearly naked ladies. When combined with 'Old fashioned', this indicates they wear the same clothes they did in high school.
  • Enjoys pets ~~ Free-range ants, cockroaches and a bees nest do not constitute 'pets.'
  • Likes weight training ~~ 12 ounce curls.
  • Enjoys running ~~ Especially after the police discover he is 'Easy going.'
  • Extravagant ~~ Spends all their money and overextends their credit on crap no one needs and they will use once, if that.
  • Has a large investment portfolio ~~ His drinking buddies bought him two shares of harley Davidson stock when he turned 40.
OK, I need to get back to work. Can anyone add to this list???

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That Wasn't So Bad

After a day or two to reflect on my carburetor issue, and all the help from the kind folks on the VX800 e-mail list, it was time to dig in. Honestly it was not all that difficult. The success or failure of the carburetor cleaning is yet to be seen but the process of disassembling, cleaning and reassembling the front unit was not very difficult.
One big problem with this carb became evident within moments. The diaphragm was not seated properly when the previous owner had the carbs rebuilt. Honestly, it is a wonder this one worked at all.

There is the rear carb yet to clean, and the success or failure only to be determined once both are strapped back onto the engine. Sometimes a task that seems daunting is honestly rather small after a day or two of hydration and reflection.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Plans and Limits

"Failure is nature's plan to prepare you for great responsibilities." -Napoleon Hill
"It is an ill plan that cannot be changed." -Latin proverb.
Those two quotes seem quite apropos at the moment. There is no anger nor even a hint of irritation; just a tired, hot confounding pressure in the back of my head, radiating out to my knees and fingers.

For the last three days I have pushed against the oppressive Las Vegas summer heat and aching pressure in my fingers and knees in an effort to clean and check the carburetors on my VX800. They were successfully removed, cleaned and reattached, all without blood loss or single broken part.

At about 7PM yesterday with the thermometer displaying 105, I mounted the tank, turned on the petcock, opened the choke, turned on the key and hit the starter. She cranked and cranked and barely caught once and then backfired. And that was the end of my work for the day. The battery was dead from excessive cranking and there was a puddle of fuel on the ground below the front carburetor.

Apparently I had maladjusted the rear carb so that the needle valve would not allow sufficient fuel into the bowl, and I had not cleaned the front carb enough as it was still overflowing. The course of action was obvious. The air boxes and carburetors had to come off again. The carbs had to be opened up and cleaned and inspected and readjusted again.

And my 40-something body is telling me, 'enough pushing for now.' All spare time for the past four days, excepting the times where temperatures were over 115, has been spent in the garage. My (according to my doctor) pre-arthritic fingers and knee are telling me to take a day or two off.

Maybe it is time to have someone else work on a thing or two. Would it soil my desire to rebuild this bike if I paid someone to take care of the carburetors for me?

Minimally, she does have new fuel lines, a few new vacuum lines and I know how to get in deep if necessary.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Patience, Grasshopper

So, Friday I picked up another VX800. For only $200 I bought a 1990 (first model year) donor bike. Plans... What are plans if they aren't bent or broken a little?

The initial plan was to get this bike and use it as a test-bed of sorts. The previous owner told me that just before it was put in storage about six years ago, the entire engine was rebuilt; both top and bottom end. The rear carburetor started giving him issues so he just parked it in one of his storage units and drained the fuel.

Over that time he sold, gave away or had stolen several pieces from the bike. There was no fuel tank, no plastics, no speedometer worm gear on the front wheel and no exhaust. Perhaps a challenging project at best for many. Given I already have two 1991 model year bikes, this was a purchase dream come true.

On Saturday I started cleaning her up and checking parts. It occurred to me that rather than just using this as a parts bike, why not just build on this one instead? Sure, I have a great bit of time invested in the other VX carcass. It was cleaned, painted, clearcoated, received a new steering head bearing set, completely re-wrapped wiring harness and likely quite a few other things.

Optimistically I picked up a fresh battery, oil filter, oil and battery strap from Nevada Suzuki. After returning home I replaced the oil and coolant. Carefully attaching the battery, all the electronics seemed to check out except for the brake light switch for the front brake. No problem, I had a working one. The choke cable was seized but an afternoon soak in WD40 took care of that. Plugs were giving off a good spark, oil pump was able to generate acceptable pressure when cranking, cylinders and valves were holding compression; it was a very promising and productive day.

After mounting the exhaust system (incorrectly the first few times I may add), the temp had soared to near 115 in my garage. As much as I really wanted to continue working, continuing would have likely been a little dangerous.

This morning, bright and early at 5:30 I couldn't sleep. There was an excitement in the air. I wanted to hear her run, as admittedly unlikely as that could be. Bikes usually don't crack right off after a six year nap in storage.

By 6:45 I had a mixture of SeaFoam and fuel in the tank and had installed a new fuel line and fuel filter. After taking my daughter to work, it was time. With fire extinguisher close by, I mounted the tank and connected the fuel line. With the petcock open, all fuel lines and electronics were methodically checked. We have GO.

The choke is open, key on, clutch in, I hit the starter. Within five seconds of cranking the front cylinder starts catching. It was exciting but not elating... yet. Then the rear started to catch. Blue and white smoke and all sorts of dust and dirt start flying out of the exhaust. A few twists of the throttle and the bike is showing life! She is limping and coughing and sputtering but is alive.

Now I am elated!

The blue smoke is from old junk hydrocarbons that have accumulated in the engine. The white is from the SeaFoam. All is good. Then I smell fuel. That is something I didn't want. As sublime an experience this was for me, attention to every little thing was necessary.

Under the bike was a large pool of fuel. Hitting the kill switch and turning on my vent fan I go over everything. After consulting a few people it was obvious. The floats or needle valves were gummed up. This caused fuel to be pumped out the carb breather tubes and enrich the air/fuel mixture to a point where running the engine would be a severe challenge.

After several further running tests, each time the engine running smoother and more confidently, it was obvious the carbs needed to be removed and cleaned. The temp was about 115F. As much desire there was to continue, as much drive as there was to hear her growl again, doing so would have been, as it would have been on Saturday, dangerous.

Yes, she growls. Two separate people heard her run and they both used the same adjective; growl.

Before the dis assembly process began, I HAD to do it. After a few minutes the plastic pieces and seat were mounted. She is tall, narrow, she growls, balance is better than any bike I have ever been on, and in the saddle, she feels wonderful.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Motorcycle Quote of the Day

"As recent memory serves, the most I have felt at home is while on two wheels, riding a solitary road."

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Close Enough

While attending college, one is exposed to quite a few jokes about their course of study. Here are some of my favorites:

Q. How did the programmer die in the shower?
A. He read the shampoo bottle instructions: Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
None – It’s a hardware problem.

What’s the difference between drug dealers and computer programmers?

Drug Dealers Computer Programmers
Refer to their clients as “users”. Refer to their clients as “users”.
“The first one’s free!” “Download a free trial version…”
Have important South-East Asian connections (to help move the stuff). Have important South-East Asian connections (to help debug the code).
Strange jargon: “Stick,” “Rock,” “Dime bag,” “E”. Strange jargon: “SCSI,” “RTFM,” “Java,” “ISDN”.
Realize that there’s tons of cash in the 14- to 25-year-old market. Realize that there’s tons of cash in the 14- to 25-year-old market.
Job is assisted by the industry’s producing newer, more potent mixes. Job is assisted by industry’s producing newer, faster machines.
Often seen in the company of pimps and hustlers. Often seen in the company of marketing people and venture capitalists.
Their product causes unhealthy addictions. DOOM. Quake. SimCity. Farmville. Facebook. etc...
Do your job well, and you can sleep with sexy movie stars who depend on you. Damn! Damn! DAMN!!!

One of my favorites, while not specifically about computer scientists is told and written in various levels of sexuality and innuendo. Here is a fairly clean version:

A man and a woman are at opposite ends of a basketball court. Every 5 seconds, they walk HALF the remaining distance towards the half court line. A scientist says, "They will never meet, it is useless"; an engineer says "Pretty soon, they'll be close enough for all practical purposes".

Maybe this has some deeper connotations. We may never meet a specific goal or complete a project exactly as desired or designed. However we just may get close enough for all practical purposes.